Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. Platelets are most often used by cancer patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
In a platelet donation, an apheresis machine collects your platelets along with some plasma, returning your red cells and most of the plasma back to you. A single donation of platelets can yield several transfusable units, whereas it takes about five whole blood donations to make up a single transfusable unit of platelets.
Platelets are collected at Red Cross donation centers only, and are not collected at blood drives. Learn more about platelet donations.
Who it helps: Platelets are a vital element of cancer treatments and organ transplant procedures, as well as other surgical procedures.
Time it takes: About 2.5-3 hours
Ideal blood types: A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive and AB negative
Donation frequency: Every 7 days, up to 24 times/year